SPECIFIC GROUPS OF VICTIMS – EUROPEAN UNION

‘Directive 2011/92/EU brings into line criminal offences relating to sexual abuse committed against children, the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography throughout the EU. It also lays down minimum sanctions. The rules include provisions aimed at combating child pornography online and sex tourism’. The Directive also establishes provisions concerning the assistance, support and protection for victims which must be provided before, during and after criminal proceedings. ‘Child victims of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or child pornography are considered as particularly vulnerable victims and must be treated in a manner which is most appropriate to their situation’.[Source: http://eur-lex.europa.eu]

The Directive 2011/36/EU ‘lays down minimum common rules for determining offences of trafficking in human beings and punishing offenders. It also provides for measures to better prevent this phenomenon and to strengthen the protection of victims’. As of victims’ support, the Directive provides that ‘victims receive assistance before, during and after criminal proceedings so that they can exercise the rights conferred on them under the status of victims in criminal proceedings. This assistance may consist of the reception in shelters, or the provision of medical and psychological assistance and information services and interpretation. Children and teenagers (under 18) enjoy additional measures such as physical and psychosocial support, access to education and, where applicable, the possibility to appoint a guardian or representative. They should be interviewed immediately in suitable premises and by skilled professionals. Victims have the right to police protection and legal assistance to enable them to claim compensation’. [Source: http://eur-lex.europa.eu]

The Directive ‘establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of terrorist offences, offences related to a terrorist group and offences related to terrorist activities, as well as measures of protection of, and support and assistance to, victims of terrorism’ (see Article 1). It replaced the Framework Decision 2002/5475/JHA. It further specifies that measures of protection, support and assistance responding to the specific needs of victims of terrorism need to be adopted.

See, in particular, Recital 11 and Article 8, according to which ‘It should be ensured that investigations and prosecutions of offences involving racism and xenophobia are not dependent on reports or accusations made by victims, who are often particularly vulnerable and reluctant to initiate legal proceedings’.

For the purposes of this project, see in particular: a) Recital (16) ‘It is important to protect all natural persons against discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin. Member States should also provide, where appropriate and in accordance with their national traditions and practice, protection for legal persons where they suffer discrimination on grounds of the racial or ethnic origin of their members’; b) Recital 20: ‘The effective implementation of the principle of equality requires adequate judicial protection against victimisation’; c) Recital 24: ‘Protection against discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin would itself be strengthened by the existence of a body or bodies in each Member State, with competence to analyse the problems involved, to study possible solutions and to provide concrete assistance for the victims’; d) Article 9: ‘Victimisation. Member States shall introduce into their national legal systems such measures as are necessary to protect individuals from any adverse treatment or adverse consequence as a reaction to a complaint or to proceedings aimed at enforcing compliance with the principle of equal treatment’.